Wednesday 7 December 2016

Let's lay ghosts to rest with real action

Europe needs a hero -- not the current crop of mediocre leaders -- to extricate it from this mess, writes Declan Ganley

Published 21/08/2011 | 05:00

On this date, August 21, 1914, a squadron of the British Expeditionary Force's 4th Dragoon Guards quietened their mounts as they neared the village of Casteau in Belgium. What they did not know was that they were about to be the first British troops to engage in combat on the continent of Europe since Wellington & Bonaparte's guns fell silent over the field of Waterloo some 99 years earlier.

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A patrol of young German lancers came into sight and the 4th Dragoons unsheathed their swords. As, moments later, the opposing cavalry units clashed at close quarters, sword against lance, who among them was to know that the stupidity and mediocrity of Europe's leaders that had pitched these young men in pursuit of each other's life's blood, would soon consume the lives of countless millions and light the touchpaper of a conflagration so large, that even today we do not yet fully know the answer to whether or not this Europe of ours can survive the ultimate consequences of their epic folly.

The ghosts of those young men, felled on the cobble stones of Casteau, should haunt the dreams of Europe's current crop of mediocre leaders, as they enjoy another 'well-deserved' glass of red in whatever holiday destination they are putting their feet up in this afternoon.

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